Action

Call your Senators to ask them to oppose the confirmation of Aurelia Skipwith as Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and if possible, to hold a full Senate hearing on her conflicts of interest and lack of qualifications for this position.

California Senator Contact Info

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein: (415) 393-0707, (310) 914-7300, (202) 224-3841, or email.
  • Senator Kamala Harris: (415) 355-9041, (213) 894-5000, (202) 224-3553, or email.

Suggested Script

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP].

I am calling to urge you to vote against the confirmation of Aurelia Skipwith for Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service due to her serious conflicts of interest and lack of qualifications needed for this position. Ms. Skipwith has worked for and lobbied on behalf of powerful agricultural interests opposed to protections for wildlife she would oversee.

Ms. Skipwith worked for six years for the large agrochemical firm, Monsanto, makers of RoundUp (glyphosate) and neonicotinoid pesticides (bee killing agents).

She has also worked for three years as a consultant for Gage International, a firm owned by her fiancé that has been representing the powerful Westlands Water District in its efforts to rollback ESA rules protecting California’s fish in order to advance Central Valley farmers’ water needs at the expense of the fishing industry and protection of the ecology of San Francisco Bay.

The Center for Biological Diversity stated that Skipwith would be the “most unqualified” FWS director in the agency’s history. Her “scientific” background has been in agricultural crop science, not wildlife conservation, fishery or forest management. The mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service includes protecting wild lands and waterways from harmful development including agricultural development. Yet Skipwith’s experience has been in promoting agricultural development not something we need in our parks, forests and wild lands now.

Please VOTE NO on the confirmation of Aurelia Skipwith!!

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

[If leaving a voicemail, leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

Background

The Mission Statement of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: working to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Among the responsibilities of the FWS are enforcing federal wildlife laws; protecting endangered species; managing migratory birds; restoring nationally significant fisheries; conserving and restoring wildlife habitat, such as wetlands; helping foreign governments with their international conservation efforts; and distributing money to states’ fish and wildlife agencies through the Wildlife Sport Fish and Restoration Program.

As with other heads of federal agencies, Aurelia Skipwith’s nomination to run the US Fish and Wildlife Service follows this administration’s pattern of selecting former industry advocates to run the federal agencies that are supposed to regulate their industries. If the nomination is confirmed, her future boss will be former lobbyist and current Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. Both Skipwith and Bernhardt have a history of advocating for agricultural interests rather than protecting fish and wildlife.

In 2017 Skipwith was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Under her leadership, the Agency has already made one decision in favor of Monsanto: rescinding a ban on the use of bee killing neonicotinoids by farmers within national wildlife refuges. She also requested a rollback of rules that prevent hunters from using extreme hunting methods in pursuit of bears and wolves and a rollback of habitat protections for the imperiled sage grouse.

Senators need to further question Skipwith about her background and her interactions with lobbyists and corporations.